Women and Ecumenicalism

Last week, I was invited to participate in a pastoral prayer movement, that was to initiate a ministry planting movement within the city of Rochester.  The other participants had been gathering for the past several months and were seeking others to develop a multi-congregational vision for the city of Rochester.  This is exciting stuff, as Jesus himself stated that world should know a genuine movement of his by its unity (John 17).

I met with the pastor who was representing this burgeoning prayer movement and we got along very well.  We talked about ministry experiences, divine calling, and the missionary movements, both domestically and internationally.  It was a great conversation.

But....

The wheels began to fall off when we spoke of the role of women in ministry.  He went on to explain to me that the participants of this prayer initiative were strong advocates of male-only leadership.  When I mentioned that the Free Methodist Church, as well as scripture supports male and female leadership, he became hesistant and suggested that I consider not being part of the prayer iniative due to my "divisive" theology regarding the use of women.

Unfortunately, this is all too typical.  The Old Testament confirmed strong, powerful women leaders (Think Deborah, Judges 3-4) as well as strong men leaders.  The New Testament confirmed the presence of women preachers (Pricilla, daughters of Phillip in the book of Acts) and Paul spoke of the equality of all in site of God (Galatians 3:28).  There are key scriptures that have been misinterpreted (I Corinthians 14 for example) that when taken with the whole of scripture suggests that Paul ministered along with women ministers (in I Corinthians, Paul speaks of women prophesying, which was for the entire church).

The people of God are still divided in regarding gifting and calling of women.  We (the church universal) are not living in the freedom that we have in Jesus and continue to perpetrate non-Biblical, conflicting and oppressive views of women.

I will pray for this prayer iniative that they experience the power of God to widen and deepen their vision.

May God bless,

Pastor M Traylor